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Spinning(24 posts)

Feb 18, 2002 10:16 AM
Are there any proven methods to teach some pathetic, miserable masher how to spin? I've taken to riding the recumbant at the gym and keeping it above 95 RPM; but when I get back on the bike, I still want to mash. Where can I get some of them fast twich muscles at?
Proofreading skills...sorry... "fast twitch" (nm)Kristin
Feb 18, 2002 10:17 AM
do it by doing ithusker
Feb 18, 2002 10:31 AM
This is a proven in Track and Field, but I believe that it would also pertain to cycling. Intervals. At a higher cadence on a trainer, not a recumbant. I don't think that a recumbant gives you the same feel as a setup on your own bike. Say what you will about trainers (boring...) you can do a work out where you can flat out hammer, or spin at higher cadences. Try spining an easier gear for 3 mins with 30 secs rest five times. As you get faster you can spin increasingly harder gears. Keep count of your cadence.
re: Spinningg-money
Feb 18, 2002 10:37 AM
Muscle fiber make up has really nothing to do with it... It's all technique. Imagine your wiping your feet on a mat, that helps. The muscular involvement on a recumbant is completely different than on your bike. Get a trainer or preferably rollers to help with your technique. Think pulling up instead of pushing down. Also, when on the bike your likely to be using too big a gear to pull through the stroke.

So get off the recumbant and at least get on a regular stationary (preferable with clipless pedals) and work on bottom through and top over...
Get off the recumbentjtolleson
Feb 18, 2002 10:47 AM
and onto a vertical spinner/lifecycle/whatever bike, especially one with a cadence readout. The recumbent position caters to mashers. Although it is certainly possible to spin in a recumbent position, I find that hamstrings and glutes are more readily engaged when I'm not in that "leg press" posture.

Also, have you tried actually spinning classes with a good instructor?

Finally, get a cadence adapter for your road bike. I used one for my first two years of cycling, and I can count 80 rpm like it is second nature.
I think...Lone Gunman
Feb 18, 2002 10:50 AM
learning to spin is about learning to make the gearing work for you. I see it all the time, people working so hard and one girl from a group I sometimes ride with is a good example; she rides a not so good bike but easily stays with the group and never seems to shift gears, until she absolutely has to and then due to bike maintanence neglect, it doesn't shift real well. If she would make that mental connection that dialing in a constant cadence of 90-105 means feeling the perception of increased labor rate and a need to shift to a lower gear, she would be a phenomenal rider. But she just mashes along in too big of a gear and is really tired at the end of a ride.

I became a spinner when I learned to let the gearing and technology work for me. This season in fact I have switched the cadence readout on my speedo to the dominant display and have stopped watching speed, just HR and cadence.

Spinning almost gets to the point where you are throwing the legs like smooth moving pistons in an engine and it feels effortless.
ride a fixie (nm)D
Feb 18, 2002 10:56 AM
time on rollers has helped me but outside works tooMike P
Feb 18, 2002 10:57 AM
Time on the rollers really improved my cadence. What has worked best for me: Lowest resistance setting (flat road if outside). Ride 10 - 20 minutes at a comfortable pace to warm up. Increase the revs to where you feel yourself start to bounce in the saddle, then back it off to where you become smooth. On the rollers I will listen to the pitch of the rollers/tires/chain noise, concentrating on keeping the pitch steady. When you start to get un-smooth back off the RPMs for a couple minutes then spin it back up again. You may not be able to stay smooth for long at first but keep doing it. Spinning a higher cadence has made a huge difference in my riding. By spring someone else might say something like "Dang, where'd you find that cadence?"

Spinning and circles, per LeMondTig
Feb 18, 2002 11:00 AM
Everyone's heard the "scraping mud off of your feet at the bottom of the pedal stroke" advice that Greg LeMond actually brought to light back in 1985. What most people haven't heard is the second half of his advice:

"Another way to think about it: As the pedal begins to come up, push your knee toward the handlebar instead of pulling your heel toward the saddle. Pull the pedal through with your knee--don't pull it up with your heel."
re: Spinningallervite
Feb 18, 2002 11:05 AM
This is a skill that is fairly easy to acquire. The recumbant is better than nothing, but the best thing is your bike on a trainer or rollers. I prefer the trainer, but most prefer rollers. The open road is even better. Short high cadence intervals and one legged pedaling intervals will do the trick. You will notice a big difference in less than two weeks. However, you have to keep concentrating on spinning circles every time you get on your bike until it becomes second nature.
The answer IS ...scottfree
Feb 18, 2002 11:19 AM
(as John McLaughlin might say) ...

Isolated leg training. Get on the trainer, unclip one foot, pedal with the other alone. Then switch feet. You'll be jerky as hell at first, but very quickly (in weeks not months) your single-leg spin will smooth out, all the right muscles will build up, them fast-twitch muscles will come to life, and when you get back on your road bike you'll be amazed.

I mashed for 30 years, all the recommendations in the postings above failed for me, but one winter's worth of consistent ILT straightened me right out. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
as scottfree said...lonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2002 12:11 PM
Isolated leg training is really key to muscle memory and smoothness. It helps you become smooth, and you cannot spin fast until you're smooth - you wind up wobbling, bouncing, tensing up, fighting the bike, fighting your own legs, etc... and that's why it "feels harder" to spin than mash for many riders.

ILT can be done on the trainer or any flat ground - I typically use the bike path on my way out / way back in from a ride to do ILT sessions - so many strokes one side, so many strokes the other. Compare legs and you'll figure out quickly where your weaknesses and strengths are.

For leg speed, a fixed-gear is a pretty good bet, but not everyone has the time, resources and sheer insanity to get a junk frame and build one up from scratch like I did back in my second race season.

Our new team coach for the season is Ann Trombley, who I have tremendous respect for. She recommended the following drills at yesterday's team ride to sustain and hone top-end leg speed: Do 8-second spin-up intervals. Start with 3x3, 30 seconds in between. This can be done on flat road, the trainer or a spinning bike. Use fairly easy resistance, and spin it out as hard as you can for 8 seconds. I'm not a great authority on the metabolic science end, but I believe this trains the ATP system and will help to build that fast twitch response you're looking for. However, form is the key - until you learn to spin smoothly, you'll still be pedaling "squares" doing spinups.
It's really shocking.scottfree
Feb 18, 2002 12:30 PM
I struggled for years to pedal circles. Simply could not do it. I don't know the physiology of ILT, but its effect is just transformational, and QUICK. Within a couple of weeks I had noticed an improvment, and after three months I was a different cyclist. I'm still amazed that just a few minutes a day of ILT could undo 30 years of mashing, and 30 years of failed efforts not to mash.
ILT drills on the roadsimstress
Feb 19, 2002 10:53 AM
When you do ILT drills on the road, do you unclip one foot and let it dangle? Or do you leave both feet in and focus on one foot while the other goes along for the ride? If you unclip one foot, how do you position that foot during the drill?
ILT drillslonefrontranger
Feb 19, 2002 12:41 PM
I typically rest my heel on the rear skewer nut, but my advice to most beginners at ILT drills is to just let it dangle. Resting it is much easier on the butt and balance, but can be tricky, because you don't want to stick your foot in the spokes.
Man alive thats hard!Kristin
Feb 20, 2002 6:14 AM
I think I found a weakness! Thanks for telling me about the ILT's. Last night was just sad. Had you seen me, you would have laughed and cried. My best effort was 45 rotations with my left leg. Only the first 5 were anything close to a circle. The last 2...well, I got my foot over the top. Though I might not be doing this on the best trainer.

Question: You only do this kinda workout a couple times a week right? (I know my HR was way up there.)
re: Spinningxxl
Feb 18, 2002 12:25 PM
I've been doing the Spinning thing at a local gym, and as dorky as I first thought it would be (I mean, group stationary training?), it's been a very good workout, and I swear that pedaling that fixed flywheel has helped my pedal stroke, as well as my cadence. A big part of it, maybe even all of it, though, is the instructor. She rides a moving bike as well (not all instructors do), and being little and fast, spins the pedals about 110 rpm or so. I've been consciously trying to match her cadence, at first just to see if I could, then more to help my own work. It felt hugely awkward at first, but after a couple weeks, it seems to help me. The faster spin kind of magnifies deficiencies in your pedal stroke at first, so you're forced to correct them to get a smooth pace.

Fast twitch fibers, I don't know. I was under the impression that fast/slow twitch composition didn't have as much to do with spinning circles as was previously thought. I know that I spin better, but my vertical leap (if it can be called that) is still laughable even by middle-aged white standards, and my 100-meter dash is certainly no better than the blistering 13.8 sec. times I managed in high school.
re: Fast twitch muscles,guido
Feb 19, 2002 12:28 PM
they're the ones that bulk up during resistance training with weights. They can deliver more strength, and greater power, but only for a short time, because they use up their energy, stored in the muscle, quickly in the effort, then have to back off to recover. They can't use oxygen efficiently. Fast twitch fibers get thicker than slow twitch fibers, and give the muscle awesome definition, like Jan Ullrich's legs.

Slow twitch fibers, on the other hand, are long and lean. They can use oxygen, and go forever. They are the "aerobic" fibers, and they are trained by rapid cadence, spinning, with low resistance. As long as you can "stay on top of the gear," or keep up a rapid cadence above 90 rpm, your slow twitch long fibers are doing most of the work, but when you hit a hill, and can't keep up 90 rpm and start having to make definite pushing efforts to keep the crank going around, the stronger fast twitch fibers practically take over, and you "lose your spin."

The leg muscles have an equal amount of both types of fibers, and whichever you train the most will become prominent, to the detriment of the other. The old rule: as strength goes up, endurance goes down, and vice versa.

That's why cyclist are supposed to spin in the early season, to make their slow twitch endurance fibers prominent, and as the season progresses, these fibers can be challenged to work harder, and become stronger. The muscles will look lean like Lance's, but still be able to power up a climb at high heartrates, as high as any fast twitch strength exercise, in fact, higher for longer periods of time.

ILT is a great way to isolate the muscles and learn how to truly crank, rather than just mash down on the pedals. That'll give you a feel for the pedals, and from there you can increse leg speed by "tickling the pedals" in insanely easy gears, and as you gain power, gradually increase the intensity in larger gears.

There's another idea here worth mentioning, too. Once your slow-twitch fibers are well trained and they can deliver some power, then you will be able to "stay on top" of big gears if you want to, like 53-14 or 53-13, and deliver aerobic power at lower cadences. Hinault mentions this in his book. I had some good chase efforts in big gears, like 53-14, when, once I was able to get the cadence up to 90 rpm, I could sustain that effort at, like, 28-30 mph for maybe a minute. I wouldn't have been able to do that with just strength training alone. Is this right? What do some of you racers think?
re: Spinningnm
Feb 18, 2002 1:45 PM
are you doing your workout on a recumbent because of hip pain related to your itbs injury?
Feb 19, 2002 3:30 PM
When I started on the recumbant, I was avoiding my bike because of my knee. Since November, I've only ridden the DeBernardi 3 times. I certainly hope that my knee is healed by now. The only other reason for the recumbant, was that it has cadence and my computer does not. (I bought a Cateye Enduro II on sale w/out considering this.) I do have a trainer and I will try some of the suggestions tonight.
don't use the big ringdzrider
Feb 19, 2002 10:01 AM
When I bought my first 10 speed the guy at the shop told me I shouldn't use the big ring til the bike was broken in - something to do with the chain eating the cogs. I knew better and to my regret used the big ring all the time. Unlearning tok a long damned time. Some of what helped.

A good base of aerobic fitness. Without it I find spinning impossible becauses spinning uses more oxygen and less leg strength.

Riding the 42 as much as possible early in the season. Spinning faster than I can maintain, 110 to 120, makes 95 seem comfy.

Getting weight off the pedals. I take a little more weight on my hands, a little less weight on the seat and try to feel like my abs are partiallly supporting my legs. When I do this well it feels like I'm moving my thighs and my feet are following my knees around.

Good luck and keep at it.
exactly..."by doing it"...Js Haiku Shop
Feb 19, 2002 11:31 AM
on my 42x18 single speed, i've gone from ~18 mph spinning at ease in november to ~22 mph spinning at ease this weekend. that's exactly three months to go from around 95 to 120 rpm without bouncing myself outta the saddle. i'm not dead sure on the rpm numbers, but they're better than ballpark.

my secret? trying to catch the guys pushing 27 mph in their 53-tooth rings. they're great from the gate, but not much for stamina afrer turnin' the "big plate" for a few miles. turns out i pulled 'em all the way home into a stiff westerly wind after 'bout 50 miles. guess there is something to this spinning stuff, afterall.

don't have a single? adjust the other gears outta your rear derailleur, or adjust them out of your head. then, chase after the "fast" guys.

j's haiku shop: masher by birth, spinner by the grace of Lance.
FWIW...Len J
Feb 19, 2002 6:15 PM
my wife has a recumbant & the easiest way to ride it is to spin.

Here is how I converted myself from a masher to a spinner:

1.) Installed a cateye Astrale with a cadence sensor.
2.) For the next week, raised my cadence by 5 RPM. I started at 80 RPM, so The first week I rode at 85. It felt weird, it felt uncomfortable, but I kept at it, until it felt OK, I wouldn't let my cadence get below 85. Then I raised it again, another 5 RPM. I kept doing this until I got to 110 RPM. Now I vary between 95 & 110, and can usually tell where I am W/In 5 RPM.

The key is to just be committed to it & Just do it. There is no easier way to do it than to just do it.

One other thing, I found that what I was really doing as much as training my legs was training my neuromuscular system & my aerobic system to handle the constant leg speed. I feel like I get a better cardio workout spinning than mashing.

My .02 Good Luck

re: Spinningmackgoo
Feb 20, 2002 11:36 AM
Why? If your not a spinner what's the concern?